Hurricane Sally is wreaking havoc in Pensacola and a large swath of the Gulf Coast. She’s taking her time—crawling forward at a mere 2 – 3-mile pace—refusing to be ignored and focusing all eyes in the area on her.
As far as wind velocity for hurricanes, she’s not rocking the charts. However, at more than 100-miles per hour (with gusts reaching 123-miles per hour), hurricane Sally is not one to trifle with. Precipitation and storm surge, that’s where she shines. She’s already dumped more than 20-inches of rain and presented us with a storm surge of nearly 6-feet. Sally is flooding downtown Pensacola and many of our streets.
Sally shook my wife and me awake at 3:50 AM, blowing-in two sets of French doors to the condo we are renting as renovation continues on our home. We barricaded ourselves into the apartment, pushing furniture against the doors to keep Sally out. She took out power lines so that we are without refrigeration, indoor climate control, illumination, and the ability to cook on our electric range.
We prepared for Sally beginning on Monday—two full days before her arrival. We took action despite the uncertainty of when and where she would make her entrance. Our priorities were clear. In the event she came ashore at Pensacola and proved consequential, we wanted to be prepared to protect our: 1) personal safety; 2) home from damage; and 3) property.
We could have chosen to evacuate, but Sally wasn’t forecast to amount to much. She was classified as a tropical storm, toying with entering as a category 1 hurricane. Nonetheless, we took to our condo, on high ground (2nd floor) just a few miles from our home. (In the future, we will evacuate our home and leave the area when a hurricane threatens Pensacola.)
Our contractor secured our home to lessen the potential for damage. He installed and secured all doors, windows, and locks to batten it down. We purchased a gas generator, which he connected and bolted down, to provide continuous power to the home. When we left the house on Tuesday afternoon, it was airtight and all right.
The construction crew conducted a FOD walk (military aviation acronym for “foreign object debris”) to remove anything from our grounds that can cause damage. They also stored all building materials, construction equipment, and tools in our garage. They cleared the property of anything that Sally could convert into a projectile.
We chose to take measures to protect ourselves, our home, and the surrounding community as best we could.
We won’t forget Sally. She did far more damage to Pensacola than expected (and at this writing, than we know). We had our priorities straight and prepared for the unexpected. Over the next few days, as we clear around our property, we’ll take stock of what we need to do better or different, consistent with our priorities.
We need to focus on getting our priorities straight and preparing for the unexpected, regardless of whether it’s the weather or the marketplace. The final outcome is subject to chance. However, if we focus on our priorities in preparing for the unexpected, we will be successful more times than not in avoiding disaster.
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Stay SAFE and be well.
Peace and best wishes,